Since the ’30s the hoodie has been many things — a fashion statement, a go-to piece of comfortable clothing, or an essential winter piece — but definitely a fashion icon. Introduced by the apparel company Champion Athletic Apparel as a functional garment for blue collar workers, over the decades in Western culture it has morphed into a cultural touchstone, from being the official swag of Patriot’s head coach Bill Belichick to its association with crime. It is even banned by certain institutions.
Both activist Jason Sole (a professor at Hamline University and founder of Humanize My Hoodie) and writer and culture commentator Lou Stopper agree that a hoodie is more than an article of clothing. An exhibit by Sole examined how society demonizes and unhumanizes many people who wear hoodies, while Stopper’s new exhibit The Hoodie explores its role as a “social-political-carrier.” The show will also reveal the timeline of when the hoodie became intertwined with the world of hip-hop and Silicon Valley and in what ways it became a stereotype and tool of racial profiling.
The exhibit will feature artworks that unite with the garment — ranging from photography, film, and installations in addition to more than 60 hoodies. Artists such as Devan Shimoyama, John Edmonds, and Prem Sahib are featured alongside well-known brands like Rick Owens, VETEMENTS, and Off-WhiteTM. There is also the opportunity for visitors to loan their hoodie to the exhibit as well add their experiences to the presentation.
“... a garment that can incite fear, jealously, camaraderie and even fury in others — as well as being a garment you can lose your life by wearing. The lingering question posed by the hoodie is simply: ‘Who enjoys the right to wear one without challenge?’” writes Stopper in a social media post.
The exhibit will take place at the Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Dutch institute for architecture, design and digital culture in Rotterdam, Netherlands from December 20, 2019, to April 12, 2020. Anyone who wears a hoodie while attending the exhibit will be granted free access. For more information please visit Het Nieuwe Institute’s website.
**This article was written by Deidra ‘drahuws’ Hunter, www.drahuws.com @drahuws **